24 November 2010

Pretty things

There is a lot flowering in the Biodiversity Garden - a last splash of bright colour before the heat of summer really kicks in, and the garden will revert to a simple palette of greys and greens. By January flowers give way to foliage, and texture will reign supreme.

Below, photographed on the 2nd Nov, a chinkerinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides) - still fresh in bud and sparkly white.

And below: three weeks later, with long flower stalks, old papery flowers encasing swelling seed capsules. A caracal slinking through.

The Lighthouse Walkway is looking especially cheerful, with Cotyledon orbiculata in full bloom, as well as Pelargonium betulinum (pink), Pelargonium cucculatum (magenta) and Gnidia squarrosa (pale yellow), all in bloom.

In the wetland Watsonia angusta is making splashes of bright red against the grey of Plecostachys serpyllaceae and restios - a favourite combination which I spotted in the Harold Porter Garden and recreated here.

Bright pink Orphium frutescens is right on schedule: November is prime time. I love the juxtaposition of plant diversity with the skyline of surrounding appartments and cityscapes.

Orphium is buzz pollinated: each twisted yellow anthers has a small hole (pore) at the top. Carpenter bees visit and grab hold of the anthers, buzzing vigorously - this shakes out the pollen onto their bodies, thereby effecting pollination.

Update on the amazing race: The dome is starting to get a green 'skirt' of climbers growing up the mesh. Dipogon lignosus (boslimop) still in the lead.

In the 'Cape biodiversity goes International' display the various hybrids are in full swing. Diascia, Gazania, Agapanthus - it's hot there.


  1. Everyone wants to know: when is the garden open to the public?

  2. Yes, thanks for asking. At last we have a firm answer: it's the 16 december. Ta da!
    One of the things the City had to wait for was the Camissa water connection. At the moment the lakes are half empty and looking rather sad - refer to next post. They will be filled with water from the spring, piped from Oranjezicht. However while laying the pipeline they unearthed skeleton (s), requiring heritage and all sorts of protocols - you can imagine.
    Add to this situation: public safety and indemnity issues and contractual ones (it is still a construction site), the SailStade France pullout, and a good dose of local politics - and then it becomes clear why there has been uncertainty about the opening date. But we are having security briefing meetings and all seems set for 16 Dec. Watch the press to be sure!

  3. Lovely pictures. Looks like everything is growing well. I'm looking forward to the opening in a couple of weeks!